The new Android 4.4 KitKat launcher
Once Android 4.4 dropped onto the scene with it’s fancy new Google experience launcher (I prefer to call it the Google Now launcher), many were wondering what would happen to popular homescreen replacements like Nova Launcher. Well, Nova Launcher’s father Kevin Barry decided to chime in on his plans for Android 4.4 KitKat and what it means for Nova.
According to Barry, he’s been working hard to bring the “look and feel” of the Nexus 5’s homescreen to Nova Launcher, complete with transparent nav and notification bars, light folders, and circular page indicators (ew). Before you get too excited, keep in mind that some of these new features — like the transparent system bars — will only be available on Android 4.4 KitKat. Even then, performance issues may prevent lower-end hardware from using this feature, regardless if its running KitKat or not.
When it comes to the persistent new Google Now page that rests to the left of the Android 4.4 homescreen, unfortunately this is a feature Nova wont be able to achieve. It’s not for a lack of trying mind you, it’s just that Barry’s hands are tied because of a lack of APIs. Kevin did mention that he’ll see if he can provide his own workaround, using a full screen widget or something along those lines.
The app drawer can also be reworked. In Android 4.4 KitKat, Google removed the black background and widgets tab from the app drawer, something easily achievable in a 3rd party launcher like Nova. Kevin’s already looking into.
As far as whether a KitKat inspired update will require another payment for those who purchased Nova Launcher Prime, Kevin flat out says, “No.” While a beta isn’t ready for users to test just yet, Kevin was able to provide a quick and dirty extremely alpha version just to show he is in fact working on an update. When a beta is available for testing, it will hit Nova Launcher’s Google+ community, so make sure you join of you’re hoping to try it out early.